Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I Love/I Hate My Cuisinart

I have been cooking for a lot of people over the last couple of weeks. Four of us on December 23, five on Christmas Eve, nine on Christmas Day, and four on New Years Day. That’s a lot when I’m accustomed to one or two. In preparing these dinners, I used my Cuisinart multiple times. It is a wonderfully helpful machine. I literally couldn’t cook without it. Whirling away--or as my friend Cathleen says “cuising” away (I think it rhymes with wheezing)--I made pomegranate sauce for chicken, blitzed the herbs for the herb kuku, blended butternut squash soup, a spicy tomato sauce for chickpeas, a marinade for fresh crab, and a lovely sauce for the lamb curry. Of course, you can make these items by hand, or with a mortar and pestle, or maybe in a blender, but none of these options works quite as well as the processor.

That said, the Cuisinart has major design flaws. First, the complicated locking mechanism. Early on, someone must have stuck his or her fingers into the spinning blades. Messy and awful for them, I know. But is it really necessary from a safety standpoint to have three components exactly aligned before the C will work? Three. Ridiculous.

Second there is the cleaning issue. There are obscure places which are nearly impossible to wash well: the bottom of the unit which houses the feed tube, the spindle hole underneath the blade, and the inside of the handle. Because it is so hard to clean, I will often organize my cooking so that I only have to rinse it out before moving onto the next task. Maybe dishwashers solve the problem of the hard to reach spots, but I can’t run the dishwasher every time I want a clean processor.

Third, there is the problem with the blade going dull—which it invariably does over time. Did you know that you can sharpen it just as you would any other knife? And you can also buy a new blade from Appliance Sales & Service in San Francisco and get it in the mail. Without replacing the whole unit.

So there you are. I need it. I love it. I wish it were better. Has anyone found a really good one that doesn’t cost a fortune?

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